This book explains how postwar Japan managed to achieve a highly egalitarian form of capitalism despite meager social spending. Estevez-Abe develops an institutional, rational-choice model to solve this puzzle. She shows how Japan's electoral system generated incentives that led political actors to protect, if only for their own self-interested reasons, various groups that lost out in market competition. She explains how Japan's postwar welfare state relied upon various alternatives to orthodox social spending programs. The initial postwar success of Japan's political economy has given way to periods of crisis and reform. This book follows this story up to the present day. Estevez-Abe shows how the current electoral system renders obsolete the old form of social protection. She argues that institutionally Japan now resembles Britain and predicts that Japan's welfare system will also come to resemble Britain's. Japan thus faces a more market-oriented society and less equality.
About the Author
Margarita Estevez-Abe is currently Associate Professor of Political Economy at Harvard University. She has also taught at the University of Minnesota, served as a research associate at Keio University in Japan, and worked for a senior Japanese policy advisor. She co-authored Social Protection and the Formation of Skills: A Reinterpretation of the Welfare State, in Peter Hall and David Soskice eds., The Varieties of Capitalism (2001) and Japan� Shift Toward A Westminster System, in Asian Survey (2006). She is also the author of Negotiating Welfare Reforms: Actors and Institutions in Japan, in Sven Steinmo and Bo Rothstein eds., Institutionalism and Welfare Reforms (2002) and State-Society Partnership in Japan: A Case Study of Social Welfare Provision, in Susan Pharr and Frank Schwartz eds., The State of Civil Society in Japan (2003).
Table of Contents1. Rashomon: the Japanese welfare state in a comparative perspective; 2. Structural logics of welfare politics; 3. Historical patterns of structural logic in postwar Japan; 4. The rise of the Japanese social protection system in the 1950s; 5. Economic growth and Japan's selective welfare expansion; 6. Institutional complemetarities and the Japanese welfare capitalism; 7. The emergence of trouble in the 1970s; n8. Policy shifts in the 1990s: the emergence of European-style welfare politics; 9. The end of Japan's social protection as we know it: becoming like Britain?